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Climate Action in Vermont: discussions, meetings and webinars: Sept 19-21, 2021

With the superstorms, mass flooding, and wildfires of the last couple of months, it should be hard to find someone who is still a climate change denier; nevertheless, there still is hesitancy from some Vermont government leaders to adequately address climate change. At this moment, Vermont’s Climate Council is in the process of developing a climate action plan that could set things in motion to meet our state’s goals for greenhouse gases and climate resilience. Right now is a crucial time for Vermonters to raise our voices and demand strong climate action.

See the Sierra Blog to explore our take on these important issues.

Sierra Club leaders have been actively engaged in this process, and we would like to share what we have identified as key issues at stake. We encourage you to attend the following meetings and events to inform yourself of the latest details in formulating the Climate Action Plan.

Vermont Sierra Club Virtual Conversations:

Transportation Issues in the Climate Action Plan: Sep 22, 7 pm – 8 pm. The Sierra Club hosts a discussion with two members of the Climate Council’s Cross-Sector Mitigation Subcommittee Johana Miller, Vermont Natural Resources Council, and Gina Compoli, past Senior Environmental Policy Manager, Vermont Agency of Transportation, to discuss the transportation issues that have been proposed for the Climate Action Plan. See here to RSVP and for more details.

Is Vermont faking it on greenhouse gas emissions? September 29, 8 pm – 9 pm. As the Vermont Climate Council does its work creating a Vermont Climate Action Plan, serious flaws in our GHG accounting system become crucial in achieving real emission reductions. VT Sierra’s Steve Crowley and other climate leaders have been hard at work helping the Climate Council understand the challenge. RSVP to join us for an informative exchange, and add your voice for strong action.

Vermont Climate Council Public Engagement Meetings:
Elmore: Tuesday, September 21, 5:00-7:00 PM: Elmore State Park Pavilion East
Dorset: Wednesday, September 22, 5:00-7:00 PM: Emerald Lake State Park Pavilion
Island Pond: Thursday, September 23, 5:00-7:00 PM: Lakeside Pavilion, Island Pond
Colchester: Sunday, September 26th, 3:00-5:00 PM: Airport Park Pavilion, Colchester
Virtual, statewide: Tuesday, October 5, 6 pm: special focus on BIPOC community, online
Virtual, statewide: Thursday, October 6, 6 pm: online

While the council is formulating its initial plan you can submit comments via email or attend one of these public engagement meetings. See here for details and links.

Climate Action Meetings with our Partner Organizations
Sunday, September 19, 7 pm. Statewide gathering, online.
Monday, September 20, 7 pm. With a local focus on Bristol.
Tuesday, September 21, 5:30 pm. With a special focus on Charlotte.

Join the Vermont Sierra Club, 350 Vermont, and the Vermont Renews Coalition, for a virtual discussion of issues before the VT Climate Council.

What can we do to ensure Vermont is the climate leader it wants and needs to be? Will our plan be effective enough to help avert runaway climate change? Who will this future benefit? Who might be left behind?

The state needs to hear from us! Join us, with 350VT and the VT Renews Coalition, to learn more, share your thoughts, and join the call for a just and sustainable future that works for all Vermonters and the planet. This event is online – you’ll receive an e-mail with the Zoom link after you RSVP here.

Thank you for being a part of our Sierra Club committed community and doing your part.

Robb Kidd
Conservation Program Manager
Vermont Sierra Club

September 16 Green Energy News

Headline News:

  • “Climate Measures In Budget Bill Could Cut Nearly 1 Billion Tons Of Emissions Per Year By 2030, Analysis Finds” • Six major climate provisions in congressional Democrats’ massive budget bill could reduce US greenhouse gas emissions by nearly 1 billion tons per year by 2030, according to a study from the nonpartisan Rhodium Group. [CNN]

Wind turbines (Irina Iriser, Pexels)

  • “Governor JB Pritzker Signs Legislation On Climate Change And Renewable Energy” • Illinois is the first state in the Midwest to enact legislation combating the climate crisis and to build an economy for the future. Gov JB Pritzker signed legislation that requires will close fossil fuel power plants over time and rescue money-losing nuclear plants. [HOI ABC]
  • “XPeng Launches $25,000 To $35,000 P5 Electric Sedan – How Many Will XPeng Sell?” • XPeng has just dropped a massive hammer on the Chinese EV market. Despite being a smart electric car, XPeng’s new P5 model has a starting price of just ¥160,000 to ¥230,000 (after subsidies), which translates to $24,875 to $35,760. [CleanTechnica]
  • “Details Of The House’s US EV Incentives Proposal” • The House Ways and Means Committee, which writes the tax code, worked through the energy portions of the Build Back Better Act. They reimagined the EV tax credit that consumers can get when they buy a new EV and added a credit for the second owner of the EV as well. [CleanTechnica]
  • “EU Chief Challenges US On Climate And Asserts Brussels’ Role In ‘New International Order’” • In her State of the Union address to the European Parliament, EU Chief Ursula von der Leyen called on the US and China to increase efforts on the climate crisis, while also announcing plans to challenge their dominance in digital technology. [KRDO]

For more news, please visit geoharvey – Daily News about Energy and Climate Change.

September 15 Green Energy News

Headline News:

  • “Sweden Is Home To One Of The World’s Tallest Wooden Structures” • The Swedish city of Skellefteå, on the shores of the Baltic Sea, is home to a new performing arts center and hotel constructed entirely of wood. Designed by White Arkitekter, it features a 20-story hotel that springs from the Sara Cultural Center below. [CleanTechnica]

Sara Kulturhus (White Arkitekter image)

  • “Clean Trucks New York Program to Bring Significant Benefits” • New York Governor Hochul gave the green light last week for the state to move forward with the Advanced Clean Trucks rule. The directive to the Department of Environmental Conservation represents one of her Administration’s first actions to mitigate climate and air pollution. [CleanTechnica]
  • “Wärtsilä Is Swapping Batteries For Waterway Vessels In The Netherlands” • Wärtsilä has come up with a mobile battery swapping system to help power and re-power electric waterway vessels. This may be an old idea, but it’s new in the real world. The first order, for an initial 3 units, was just placed and fulfilled in June in the Netherlands. [CleanTechnica]
  • “Pair Of California Wildfires Now Threatening Some Of The World’s Largest Trees” • Wildfires in California’s Sierra Nevada mountains have forced much of Sequoia National Park to close. Two-thirds of all the Sierra Nevada’s giant sequoia grove acreage had already burned in wildfires of 2015 through 2020, according to the National Park Service. [CNN]
  • “Activism Works! Harvard Will Divest From All Fossil Fuels” • In an open letter to the Harvard community, President Lawrence Bacow announced that the Harvard Management Company is in the process of removing the university from all investments in fossil fuels. While the letter does not use the word “divestment,” it is clear that is what is happening. [CleanTechnica]

For more news, please visit geoharvey – Daily News about Energy and Climate Change.

September 14 Green Energy News

Headline News:

  • “Nicholas Is Now A Hurricane That Threatens The Texas Coast With Heavy Rain And Storm Surges” • Nicholas strengthened into a hurricane and threatens to bring heavy rain, storm surges and strong winds to portions of the Texas Coast, the National Hurricane Center said. It said Nicholas could produce as much as 12 inches of rain or more in some areas. [CNN]

Expected rainfall from Nicolas (NOAA image)

  • “Norway’s Center-Left Defeats Solberg’s Conservative Rule” • The opposition Labor party has won Norway’s general election, bringing an end to eight years of conservative government under Erna Solberg. Norway’s biggest export is oil and the green party campaigned to close production down in a few years to curb the country’s carbon emissions. [BBC]
  • “Young People Very Worried: Survey” • A global survey shows the depth of anxiety many young people feel about climate change. Three-quarters of them said they thought the future was frightening. Over half (56%) say they think humanity is doomed. Over 45% of those questioned said feelings about the climate affected their daily lives. [BBC]
  • “World Now Sees Twice As Many Days Over 50°C” • The number of extremely hot days every year, when the temperature reaches 50°C, has doubled since the 1980s, a global BBC analysis found. The total number of days above 50°C (122°F) increased in each decade since 1980, rising from an average of 14 days per year n 1980-2009 to 26 in 2010-2019. [BBC]
  • “Biden Pushes To Combat Climate Crisis While Surveying Wildfire Damage In Western US” • President Joe Biden surveyed wildfire damage in the Western US, using nearly every stop he made to illustrate how recent extreme weather events underscore the urgency of his economic agenda and its investments in the nation’s infrastructure. [CNN]

For more news, please visit geoharvey – Daily News about Energy and Climate Change.

Just In! (from NY-GEO)

Below are G.E.T.’s top picks from NY-GEO’s weekly “Just-In” Newsletter. Just In! features three fresh news item summaries on the NY-GEO home page every Monday. NY-GEO members get the full newsletter, which includes an advanced look at the website articles, plus event listings and job openings and several bonus article summaries with links, usually on the Saturday before website publication.

Will Kathy Hochul support a carbon tax? – Getting behind an effort that fell short last session could change the climate game in New York. – by Rebecca Lewis – “The new governor so far seems to have shied away from taking an early stance on a key climate issue… ‘I know you’re suggesting one approach, I’m saying there’s another approach on the table, but I am looking at all options right now.’ She declined to specifically express support for the Climate and Community Investment Act, carbon tax legislation that failed in the state Legislature this past session after business and fossil fuel interests lobbied against it. ‘I will be supporting anything that’s going to get us to a better place,’ Hochul said at the Wednesday press conference when asked about the bill, before once again reiterating how last week’s catastrophic flooding served as a ‘red alert.’ “ Full article here. (from 2021 09 09 – City & State First Read)

Gov. Hochul – $6 Million for Climate Justice Fellowships – 2021 09 07 –  Full Press Release here – “Governor Kathy Hochul today announced $6 million is now available over three years to support 150 Climate Justice Fellowship opportunities for individuals across the state currently residing in historically disadvantaged communities or from priority populations. This announcement, in advance of New York’s upcoming celebration of Climate Week from September 20 to September 26, helps support New York State’s commitment to ensure an equitable clean energy transition for all New Yorkers as required by the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act.”

“Triumph! Harvard Finally Divests From Fossil Fuel – The richest university in the world capitulates after a decade of activism – by Bill McKibben – The end came, as ends often do, quietly: at midafternoon today Harvard president Larry Bacow released a letter to Harvard students, faculty, and alumni. He didn’t use the word ‘divestment’–that would have been too humiliating–but he did say that the richest university on earth no longer had any direct investments in fossil fuel companies, and that its indirect investments through private equity funds would be allowed to lapse. ‘HMC has not made any new commitments to these limited partnerships since 2019 and has no intention to do so going forward. These legacy investments are in runoff mode and will end as these partnerships are liquidated.’” – Full article here. Thanks to Green Life – the Latest from Sierra Magazine for this tip.


September 13 Green Energy News

Headline News:

  • “Despite Climate Red Alert, Interior Department Moves On Gulf Lease Sale” • Despite clearly catastrophic climate change, the Interior Department decided to sell offshore leases of over 80 million acres of the Gulf of Mexico. It estimates the area will produce up to 1.1 billion barrels of oil and 4 trillion cubic feet of natural gas over 50 years. [CleanTechnica]

Offshore oil rig (Clyde Thomas, Unsplash)

  • “Australia Is Shaping Up To Be The Villain Of COP26 Climate Talks” • If Australia’s allies were worried that the country might cause them problems at upcoming climate talks in Glasgow, the events of the past week should leave little doubt in their minds. Australia made clear that it plans to pursue a business-as-usual approach to the climate. [CNN]
  • “NASA Administrator Bill Nelson Pushes Continued Climate Research And Aircraft Sustainability” • At a White House event, NASA Administrator Bill Nelson showed some of the progress his agency has made on combating climate change. He highlighted NASA’s bold plan to reduce aviation-related carbon emissions by over 3 billion gallons by 2030. [CleanTechnica]
  • “Shell Oil Looks To Become A Leader In Electric Vehicle Charging” • Shell is rapidly becoming a major player in the UK charging market. It now offers charging at numerous petrol stations, and will soon have charging at 100 supermarkets. Shell also aims to install 50,000 on-street public charging points in the UK over the next four years. [CleanTechnica]
  • “States With The Most Renewables Have The Least Expensive Wholesale Electricity” • Wholesale electricity spot prices in the two Australian states with the most renewable energy generation, South Australia and Tasmania, are the lowest in the nation and have been for years. This is good news for anyone who prefers clean energy over dirty. [SolarQuotes]

For more news, please visit geoharvey – Daily News about Energy and Climate Change.

September 12 Green Energy News

Headline News:

  • “We Finally Know Why Icy Plumes Flare Ahead Of Deadly Supercell Storms” • Just before a severe thunderstorm produces a tornado, high winds, or hailstones, a plume of ice and water billows up above the top of the storm. Scientists now think they know why. Their research has implications for warning systems and for climate change. [ScienceAlert]

Plumes forming above a thunderstorm (NASA image)

  • “UK Legislation Will Require All New Homes To Have EV Chargepoints” • If pending UK legislation becomes law, all new homes built will include EV charging. New non-residential buildings will need to provide charging infrastructure per every five parking spaces. And other existing non-residential buildings are to have charge points. [CleanTechnica]
  • “Energy Secretary Visits NH Solar Project; Touts Infrastructure Bill” • Energy Secretary Granholm came to New Hampshire to talk about renewable energy and the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act passed in August. A recent DOE report found that solar energy could power 40% of the country’s electric energy by 2035. [New Hampshire Public Radio]
  • “Mining And Steel Company ArcelorMittal Plans $9 Billion Renewable Energy Investment In India” • ArcelorMittal, a huge mining and steel making company, announced plans to develop renewable energy assets in India. A $2.6 billion, 4.5-GW solar park in Rajasthan was proposed, reports say, and it may invest $6.8 billion in Gujarat. [CleanTechnica]
  • “How A Revolutionary North Sea Green Energy Boom Will Trigger A Goldrush And Transform Scotland’s Debate On Independence” • Marco Alverà, CEO of Snam, a $15.4 billion gas infrastructure company, is working to make Snam transition from gas to green hydrogen. There are implications for Scottish independence. [The Herald]

For more news, please visit geoharvey – Daily News about Energy and Climate Change.

September 11 Green Energy News

Headline News:

  • “The Future Of Agriculture Combined With Renewable Energy Finds Success At Jack’s Solar Garden” • A 24-acre family farm purchased by Jack Stingerie in 1972 has evolved into a model for how to produce energy and food in tandem. Jack’s Solar Garden is the largest commercially active agrivoltaics system in the US, combining agriculture with PVs. [CleanTechnica]

Byron Kominek, owner of Jack’s Solar Garden (Werner Slocum, NREL)

  • “New York City Plans Major Expansion Of EV Charging Stations” • There may be an answer to EV charging for residents of New York City. According to Staten Island Live, the city will create one of the country’s largest electric vehicle charging networks over the next 10 years in an effort to reduce the its greenhouse gas emissions. [CleanTechnica]
  • “20 Years After 9/11, Yankee’s Nuclear Fuel Still Poses Security Risk” • The Vermont Department of Health still plans for the worst. But the Vermont Yankee site is not as bad as it could have been six years ago, when the reactor shut down. The nuclear fuel has been moved out of the reactor core and put into giant steel and concrete casks. [Brattleboro Reformer]
  • “Morrisville Salvage Yard’s New Solar Array Helps Power The Community” • Encore Renewable Energy and VPPSA put a 2.1-MW community solar array into commission at a former auto salvage yard in Morrisville, Vermont, they announced. The PV project is part of ar partnership to develop, finance, and build 10 MW of PVs. [Vermont Business Magazine]
  • “Electric Cars Are Coming, No Matter What Some Media And Critics Say” • As it becomes clearer that electric transportation is the future, the haters, Luddites, and boo-birds are out in full force. Every single day I see a slew of anti-EV material online. Some of these are articles in reputable media. But say what they will, the EVs are coming. [CleanTechnica]

For more news, please visit geoharvey – Daily News about Energy and Climate Change.

September 10 Green Energy News

Headline News:

  • “This Summer Tied The Dust Bowl For The Hottest On Record In US” • The summer of 2021, which produced numerous extreme weather and climate disasters, was also the hottest on record in the US, tying with the Dust Bowl summer of 1936, according to the NOAA. The average temperature was 2.6°F above the 20th-century average. [CNN]

Dust storm in Texas, 1935 (George E. Marsh Album, NOAA)

  • “New York Governor Signs Bill Bill Banning Sale Of ICE Vehicles After 2035” • New York Governor Kathy Hochul signed legislation banning the sale of passenger cars and light duty trucks with infernal combustion engines by 2035. This makes New York the second US state to ban conventional cars and trucks, after California. [CleanTechnica]
  • “Democrats’ Clean Electricity Program Would Create Nearly Eight Million Jobs By 2031, Analysis Shows” • A report by the independent firm Analysis Group finds that if Congress passes a $150 billion Clean Electricity Payment Program, it would cause the US workforce to grow by 7.7 million new jobs and add nearly $1 trillion to the economy by 2031. [CNN]
  • “New Master Roadmap Guides Industries To Invest In Low-Cost, Low-Energy Ways To Recycle Wastewater And Treat Salt Water” • In the US, the National Alliance for Water Innovation published a master roadmap to help guide future technology investments to help keep crops watered, livestock well-fed, and people provided with water. [CleanTechnica]
  • “Climeworks Direct Carbon Capture Facility Goes Live In Iceland” • Climeworks, a Swiss startup, proposes to suck CO₂ out of the atmosphere. Its first test facility, called Orca, is now operational on a lava flow in southwest Iceland. The installation is expected to capture 4000 metric tons of CO₂ annually at a cost of around $800 a ton. [CleanTechnica]

For more news, please visit geoharvey – Daily News about Energy and Climate Change.

September 9 Green Energy News

Headline News:

  • “Biden Administration Says Solar Energy Has The Potential To Power 40% Of US Electricity By 2035” • The Solar Futures Study, from the US DOE shows how solar energy could play a massive role in transitioning the US power sector to clean energy and achieve the President’s ambitious goals to decarbonize the American economy. [CNN]

Solar farm (Tom Fisk, Pexels)

  • “Biden Wants An Aggressive Transition To Electric Vehicles. A Surprising Ally Is Pumping The Brakes” • In August, President Joe Biden announced a target to have half of the vehicles sold in the US be battery electric, fuel-cell electric, or plug-in hybrid by 2030. But the United Autoworkers Union, one of Biden’s oldest political allies is resisting. [CNN]
  • “Chile’s Power Auction Wraps Up For Average Price Of $23.78 Per MWh” • Five renewable energy companies were declared winners in Chile’s technology neutral power auction for 2,310 GWh/year for 15 years. The average price was $23.78 per MWh from solar, wind, and storage projects with a total of 2,000 MW of installed capacity. [Renewables Now]
  • “Global Windfarm Installations Expected To Surge After Covid Drop, Says Report” • The Global Wind Energy Council’s annual report found that the world’s offshore windfarm capacity grew by 6.1 GW last year, down slightly from a record 6.24 GW in 2019. It expects it to grow to more than 12 GW in 2021 powered by an offshore wind boom in China. [The Guardian]
  • “US Renewable Energy Sees Record Growth” • Renewable energy saw record growth in the first six months of 2021 and now accounts for 25% of all the electricity capacity in the US, up from 23% a year ago. An increase of two percentage points may not sound like a lot but it shows that the US energy sector is headed in the right direction. [Treehugger]

For more news, please visit geoharvey – Daily News about Energy and Climate Change.